San Antonio Looks to Ban Christians From City Government

San_Antonio_Alamo at night (620w)The San Antonio City Council, under the leadership of Mayor Julian Castro, is setting the stage for an unprecedented attack on religious liberty, particularly for Christians.

In early August, the City Council will consider an ordinance to add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the discrimination ordinances in the city code. The proposal would ban anyone that has ever opposed (“demonstrated bias, by word or deed…”) homosexuality from being involved in city government and/or performing a city contract/subcontract. The proposed ordinance provides no exemptions for religious beliefs on homosexuality, even beliefs expressed in Church.

Christianity has been clear on its teaching that homosexuality is a sin, a deviation from God’s unique design of men and women, for over two thousand years. Both the Old and New Testaments attest to this viewpoint. This makes the likely consequences of this proposed ordinance clear to see: a complete ban of bible-believing Christians and faith-based businesses from participating in the city government.

This ordinance is filled with serious legal (and moral) problems (see here for more detail).

  • The ordinance directly violates the First Amendment freedom of religion and freedom of speech.
  • The ordinance violates the Texas Religious Freedom Act by infringing on religious liberty while not proving a compelling need for the law and not using the least intrusive way to address the issue.
  • The ordinance further violates the Federal and Texas Constitutions by creating a de facto religious test for involvement in city government.
  • The ordinance does not provide any protection for religious organizations, non-profits, or businesses, thus forcing these organizations to provide services that may be in direct violation of their religious beliefs.

While the legal consequences of this proposed ordinance are deeply troubling, many of the dangerous consequences of these radical policies are already playing out in other states (see here for more detail):

  • Photographer fined for not photographing lesbian ‘commitment’ ceremony
  • Christian schools sued for declining students
  • Christian adoption agencies being forced to close down
  • Private Christian retreat house and Inns being sued for not allowing same-sex civil union ceremony and same-sex “marriages”
  • Christian dating website forced to offer same-sex matches

And this just names a few.

With the consequences of the ordinance set to directly impact people of faith, Churches in San Antonio are now joining together in an effort to stop the proposed ordinance:

“For me, it’s a calling to be a moral voice for the city … regardless of how many people are visibly standing with me or not.” – Pastor Gerald Ripley

“Essentially, it’s a religious test,” Branson said. “If I don’t buy into the city’s religious views of life, then I’m not allowed to be a part of the city anymore — business or service.” – Pastor Steve Branson

The continued push to accept homosexuality and redefine marriage will continue to put our precious religious freedoms in grave peril. As evidenced by this ordinance, little tolerance will be given to those, particularly Christians, that continue stand for the biblical truth on marriage and homosexuality. And, the successful passage of this ordinance will certainly tempt other cities in Texas to follow suit.

We must resolve to continue to speak out on the numerous consequences that redefining marriage and sexuality will inevitably lead to.

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